If history is a good indication of the future, by the time HP sends its Windows 8 tablet into the world, Apple will have sold about $9.5 billion worth of iPads to businesses.So HP plans to compete by aiming its Windows 8 tablets at corporate employees, said CEO Meg Whitman in a recent interview. The secret sauce to set it apart will be security.
Whitman has repeatedly confirmed HP’s plans to bring out a Windows 8 tablet on x86 and she recently said to CRN that HP will likely release an ARM Windows 8 tablet, too, although the timing of that is unclear.
“I think our sweet spot has to be around security. This whole security thing is a big worry, not just for big enterprises but also for medium enterprises and small and medium businesses. So if we can provide devices that consumers really want — and by the way, employees are consumers, too — and we can provide a tablet offering, then we have an opportunity to solve problems for the enterprise and small- and medium-business segments, with products that their employees like and are also secure in terms of protecting the enterprise’s data.”
But will this be too little too late? Apple is expected to sell $19 billion in Macs and iPads to enterprises in 2012, according to a research report by Forrester Research. If nothing stops the Apple train, in 2013 corporations will spend $28 billion on Apple computers and tablets. Apple’s 2011 sales to enterprises landed at about $12 billion, split evenly between Macs and iPads, Forrester said. If that 50-50 split continues, in 2012 half of that $19 billion will be tablets.
Plus, 91% of professional people who own iPads are using it for work, a survey of 212 of them by IDG Connect found [Survey: PDF]. Three quarters of them bought it for themselves (though that also means that 25% were actually given their iPad as a work tool by their companies.) Only 17% say that they would consider buying a different tablet device next time.
Microsoft still hasn’t formally announced a date when Windows 8 will be available. But the general thought is that it could appear in October, 2012, with plenty of new tablets for the holiday shopping season.
That gives Apple most of 2012 to get tablets into the hands of more corporate employees. So HP’s more secure alternative had better be pretty special.